Thursday, January 14, 2016 - 12:00

The Eden Project is displaying an exhibition that uses art to inspire a deeper understanding of the importance of soil.

Soil Culture: Young Shoots is part of a wider programme that will tour the country, exploring the importance of soil and its many agricultural, ecological and holistic uses.

Eden has been working with the Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World (CCANW) to bring this exhibition to the Project.

Between August 2014 and June 2015, CCANW supported a group of Soil Culture artist residencies across the South West.

The exhibition at Eden, which runs until February 21, features the results of these residencies across the region, including the work of artist Anton Burdakov following his residency at Eden last spring.

Anton's Soil Map is a mobile sculptural unit based on the molecular structure of china clay. He took inspiration from the former china clay quarry that Eden is built in.

Anton was invited to re-engage Eden's visitors with the many facets and functions of soil.

During his residency, the structure functioned as a tool for engagement, display and research. It was gradually populated with stories, images and artefacts that emerged from a unique dialogue with the Eden community.

Also featured are artists from the London-based art, design and architecture practice Something & Son, who created their own Soil Lab and were selected for a residency at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

They explore what soil really is by attempting to make it from scratch, by coping and accelerating complex systems that take place in nature, using reassembled machines which are presented in the touring exhibition.

Another London-based artist is Jonny Briggs, whose residency took place at White Moose, Barnstaple and created a piece called ‘When Your Words Came, I Ate Them’.

Jonny worked with the local community to create a long table feast, reminiscent of the Last Supper, completely made out of local soil, which connected with his on-going interest in the entwining of desire and disgust. The finished piece is presented as a photograph in the exhibition.

Jo Elworthy, Eden’s Director of Interpretation, said: “We are delighted to have the Soil Culture: Young Shoots exhibition here at Eden, as it is a really interesting and unique programme.

“We are hoping this display of art will allow visitors to gain a better understanding of soil, to think about its many uses and look at it from a different perspective.”

CCANW is a leader in the arts and ecology movement, based at Schumacher College, Dartington, Tones. It delivers a regional programme through partnerships across the South West.

Through exhibitions, talks, and artist residencies, CCANW aims to create the platform to discuss these issues through which new understandings of the natural world can develop, using contemporary art that explores social, environmental and scientific issues.

  • The Soil Culture: Young Shoots exhibition is appearing in the Core Suite, Core building at Eden until February 21. The exhibition is then due to tour around various locations in the South West.